09/13/2014 9:57PM

Keeneland September: Young sires lead the way to start Book 2


Book 2 of the Keeneland September yearling sale was kicked off with a youth movement at the top, with four of the five highest-priced offerings sired by stallions represented by their first or second crops.

A total of 294 horses sold on Saturday during the sale’s fifth overall session for revenues of $35,634,500, up one percent from 2013, when the opening day of Book 2 grossed $35,308,000 from 280 yearlings sold.

The average sale price dipped four percent during the fifth session, from $126,100 to $121,206, while the median price posted an 11 percent decline from $112,500 to $100,000. The buyback rate saw a slight decrease, from 27 percent last year to 23 percent on Saturday.

A total of 27 horses sold for $250,000 or more on Saturday, trailing the 31 to do so during last year’s fifth session.

“The average was down [four] percent from $126,100 to $121,000, so I’d call that pretty much a wash,” said Geoffrey Russell, Keeneland’s director of sales. “If it was down a lot, I would be worried about it, but I’m not worried about it at all.

“What was good about today was it continued on in the same vein as the first book,” Russell continued. “The first horse through the ring [selling for $425,000] was nice. The top two prices in the session this year were higher than last year’s top two prices, so there is good strength at the top and plenty of interest all the way through. We’ve kept their attention late. The last two horses brought $250,000 and $160,000, so it kept on going until the very end.”

After a fairly quiet showing by young sires during Book 1, the foals by first- and second-crop stallions began to emerge among the most coveted of the day on Saturday.

Of the session’s top five prices, Claiborne Farm sire Trappe Shot accounted for the first and fourth positions, a filly by WinStar Farm’s Super Saver was the second-most expensive offering, and a colt by Ashford Stud’s Lookin at Lucky rounded out the top five.

“As the sale goes on, there is more interest in the younger sires,” Russell said. “I think in the earlier book, they go more for the established sires – the Tapits, the War Fronts. I think people are willing to take a shot here…As the week progresses, their popularity does seem to get stronger.”

Prince Khaled Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms secured the most expensive offering of the session, a colt from the first crop of Trappe Shot, for $600,000.

The bay colt is out of the winning Deputy Minister mare Winning Call, whose six foals to race are all winners, including Tapizar, the winner of the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Tapizar is by Tapit, who is the sire of Trappe Shot, meaning the colt that topped the session was bred on a cross closely resembling the Grade 1 winner and young sire.

“Obviously, we’re looking for horses to compete at the very top level, and he’s a three-parts brother to a Breeders’ Cup winner,” said Garrett O’Rourke, the manager of Juddmonte’s Kentucky farm, who signed the ticket. “Whether it’s classics or Breeders’ Cups, that’s the level Prince Khaled likes to be involved in.”

O’Rourke said the colt would be sent to the California shedrow of trainer Bob Baffert when he begins his on-track career. The trainer was seated next to O’Rourke when the colt was in the ring.

“Prince Khaled has always liked to have a West Coast presence, so he’s coming here to get some dirt horses,” O’Rourke said. “We don’t produce a lot them ourselves.”

Bred in Kentucky by Oak Ridge Farm and Fred Allor, the colt’s extended family includes Grade 1 winners Olympio, Pyro, Untapable, Paddy O’Prado , and Cuvee, Grade 2 winners Call Now, Wild Wonder, Fun House, Early Flyer, Will He Shine, and Bien Nicole, and Grade 3 winner. War Echo. Fun House is the dam of Kentucky Oaks winner Untapable, also by Tapit.

The transaction made the colt the most expensive foal out of Winning Call to be sold at public auction. He was consigned as agent by Gainesway, which stands Tapizar at stud alongside his sire.

Scat Daddy of Coolmore’s Ashford Stud was the leading sire by gross on Saturday, with 11 horses sold for a combined $2,050,000. He and second-place Trappe Shot, who had nine horses bring $1,825,000, were the only two stallions to have two foals among the 10 highest prices on the day.

The leading stallion by average sale price with three or more sold was Malibu Moon, whose four yearlings to sell brought an average price of $262,500. The son of A.P. Indy stands at Spendthrift Farm.

Lane’s End was the session’s leading consignor, with 34 horses sold for a combined $4,768,000. Topping the group was a Kitten’s Joy colt who sold to Grand Prix Co. Ltd for $290,000.

Jim and Susan Hill finished as the fifth session’s leading buyers, with nine purchases totaling $1,215,000. Their most expensive purchase was a $200,000 Speightstown colt.
After five days of selling, a total of 767 yearlings have grossed $177,787,500, trailing last year, when 826 horses brought $188,693,000, by six percent.

The five-day average sale price finished at $231,796, which outpaced last year’s figure of $228,442 by one percent. The median through the first session of Book 2 was up three percent, from $175,000 to $180,000. The cumulative buyback rate  fell from 27 percent to 26 percent.

The Keeneland September sale continues daily until Sunday, Sept. 21, beginning each day at 10 a.m.

For complete sale results, click here.

Keeneland September yearling sale, fifth session results

Year Sold Gross Average Median Buyback
2014 294 (+5%) $35,634,500 (+1%) $121,206 (-4%) $100,000 (-11%) 23%
2013 280 $35,308,000 $126,000 $112,500 27%